Source AP ©

Doctors take next step in dividing conjoined twins

Doctors achieved success in giving independent blood flow to 3-year-old conjoined twins as they prepare for a high-risk procedure to separate them.

Tatiana and Anastasia Dogaru underwent another procedure Thursday in which a second coiled wire device was inserted into veins in their brains, which share tissue. The top of Tatiana's head is attached to the back of Anastasia's.

Dr. Alan Cohen, who is chief of pediatric neurosurgery at Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, said it was a planned follow up to a similar procedure April 26.

The two procedures were designed to divert blood flow which had been shared in the brains of the two girls so that almost all blood flow from each of their bodies would go only to their own brains.

Cohen said it was a necessary step before their separation.

A team of up to 50 doctors and nurses will separate the girls in four stages over several weeks. They have not yet determined a date for the beginning of the separation.

"We have to coordinate everything. We meet weekly to try to decide this, but we don't have a date at this point," Cohen said. "Right now, we're just pleased to say that everything is going nicely."

The girls remained at the hospital Friday following the procedure. Cohen is hopeful they can go home Saturday.

The twins, born in Rome, arrived in Cleveland on April 6 after 2 1/2 years in Dallas. Their parents are from Romania. Without separation the twins run the risk of dying in early childhood.